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Koch, R. J. 

A practical problem in 
factory building design and 

For Us3 in Lirary Only 


IN Factory Building --h 
Design and Construction 



Raymond J. Koch 







MAY 27, 1920 



P^UL V. GALVIN LIBRARY '-^--^;,- y 

CHICAGO, IL 60616 

Dean ot Ifingineerlng Studies 

Dean of Cultural Studies 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2009 with funding from 

CARL!: Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois 






Raymond J. Koch 




The writer was appointed by the Ilg Electric 
Ventilating Co. of Chicago to look after their interests 
and to make a study of the type of huildlng which would be 
best suited to their needs, both industrially and struc- 
turally. Subsequently the writer also acted as super- 
intendent for the owner during the 'construction of the 

The plat of survey marked Exhibit No.l, shows the 
site which had been selected for the erection of the 
Company's new plant. The site is bounded by George St. on 
the north, Crawford Ave. on the east, and the main line of 
the Chicago Milwaiikee & St. Paul Railway Co. on the west. 
A switch track was to serve this property, but its loca- 
tion was to be determined after the building was settled. 

The points that had to be settled were: what shape 
of building was best suited for present needs and lended 
Itself most easily for future expansion, what height 
building should be erected, should the building be built 
of reinforced concrete, structural steel or heavy timber. 


In order to proceed intelligently on this problem 
the first thing that required attention was the product 
manufactured, the processes in the manufacturing, the pres 
ent floor area alloted to various processes and depart- 
ments, and the co-relation between various departments. 


The particular output of the Company is electrical 
ventilating equipment. This consists of fans and blowers 
made up of castings and sheet metal on which electric 
motors are mounted as a source of propulsion. 


By dividing up the various finished products into 
their pieces and tracing back their parts to their origin 
it was possible to make a chart of the various departments 
through which the individual parts pass until the" final 
assembly of the article is completed for shipment. Exhibit 


No. 2 gives the department chart referred to above. In 
this chart the numbers refer to the departments as listed 

1. Raw Stock department 

2a Punch Press and Forge departments 

2b Machine department 

2c Commercial Blower Fabricating department 

3 Motor V/inding department 

4 Motor Assembly department 
5a Fan Y^eel department 

5b Fan Frame department 

6 Blower Assembly department 

7 Sheet Metal department 

8 Painting department 

9 Testing department 

10 Finishing department 

11 Semi Finished stock department 

12 Shipping department 

For instance, if we take a small blower which con- 
sists of a cast iron housing, sheet metal wheel and a 
motor and refer to the chart we find that a casting is 
drawn from the Raw Stock (#1) and goes to the Fan Frame 
dept. (5b) where it is machined, ground and finished into 
a blower housing. The housing then proceeds to the Blower 
Assembly dept, (#6) where it meets the wheel which has been 
built vfhile passing through the Raw Stock room (#l),Fan 
V/heel dept. (#5a) and Painting dept. (#8). In the Blower 
Assembly dept. the vfheel is placed in the housing, the 
unit painted in the Paint shop (#8) and then is placed in 
the Semi Finished stock room (#11). Upon an order the 
blov;er is drawn from the semi finished rooms, returns to 
the BlOT/er Assembly dept. (#6) where motor is attached and 
then goes on test in (#9). Upon passing a satisfactory 
test the set goes to the Shipping dept. (#12) and thus 
leaves the plant. 


At the time that it was decided that a new plant 
was required the floor area of the Company's old plant was 
58,000 sq.ft. To provide for expansion for a period of 
from three to five years it is necessary to provide for 
approximately 100,000 sq.ft. of space in their new plant. 
The following table therefore, was gotten up showing the 
present area allotted to each department together with the 
new area. In determining the new area required in each 
department, due consideration was given to the fact that 
some departments were more crowded than others and con- 
sequently in order to even up operating conditions, a 
cramped department was allotted a little more than the nom- 
inal percentage of increase in the new layout. The fol- 


lowing table gives the present and adjusted areas 


I Raw Stock dept. 6500 
2a Punch Press and Forge depts. 2440 
2b Machine dept. 5100 
2c Coimnercial Blower Fabricating dept. 2050 

3 Motor Winding dept. 3V10 

4 Motor Assembly dept. 770 
5a Pan Wheel dept. 1800 
5b Fan Frame dept. 500 

6 Blower Assembly dept, 1030 

7 Sheet Metal dept. 4480 

8 Painting dept. 500 

9 Testing dept. 3580 

10 Finishing dept. 640 

II Semi Finished stock dept. 10070 
12 Shipping dept. 2050 



Upon making a study of Exhibit Wo. 2 we get the co- 
relation of the various departments. The problem then re- 
solves itself into arranging the departments and their re- 
spective floor areas in such a way as to result in a pro- 
gressive means of manufacturing. In order to determine the 
exact shape of building which best suited the Company's 
needs, a number of different types were considered. First 
of all the question of a single story or multi-story 
building presented itself. From the nature of the Company's 
product it is easily seen that a large amount of ground 
floor area was required in order to eliminate the consump- 
tion of a great deal of horse power on account of raising 
heavy castings to a second or third floor. Upon further 
consideration, however, it was seen that while a great deal 
of ground floor space vias necessary the Company could at 
the same time very nicely locate certain departments on a 
second floor without increasing the manufacturing costs 
an appreciable amount. It was also seen that it would not 
be practical to consider a building more than two stories 
in height, and consequently all efforts so far as depart- 
m.ent layout, were confined to the one and two story build- 

The one storj-- layout Exhibit ITo.3 shows v;hat was 
finally arrived upon as the ideal departm.ent layout for 
this type building. The objections presented against a one 
story building were, the large percentage of the available 
ground area such a building required, the far greater cost 
per square foot involved in the construction of such a type 
building, due not only to the expense of a sawtooth roof, 
but also on account of sprinkler mains, gas mains and the 
like. Another item which operated against this type of 


building was the additional heat required in the V?lnter 
due to the very large roof area and also the large amount 
of ventilation required to keep the building comfortable 
during the hot months. Roof insulation, of course, would 
help this condition considerably, but neverthless these 
two points would always be important factors. Another ob- 
jection is that when future expansion is considered it is 
easily seen that it would be necessary to move every de- 
partment in order to increase the floor area. This, of 
course, would cause a great deal of disturbance in the man 
ufacturing processes at the time of future expansion, in- 
asmuch as all departments would be affected. 

Having disposed of the single story building the 
next arrangement that would naturally suggest itself was 
the two story building. Layouts of a U, E and shape 
building were all considered and were discarded for one 
reason or another. For instance in the U type, the wings 
were too long for proper routing of materials and the 
problem of future expansion was rendered very difficult. 
While in the E shape building future expansion was simple, 
the departments did not group themselves well. In the 
shape building the present layout of departments was near- 
ly ideal, but future expansion was practically impossible 
without a complete rearrangement of all departm.ents. 

Finally an H shape building was decided upon as 
most nearly fulfilling all the requirements of the present 
and future. Exhibit No. 4 shovJS the layout upon which all 
calculations were based. Exhibit No.5 shows how easily 
this layout lended itself to a 50^ expansion. In this 
layout the departments handling the heavy castings and 
heavy finished product were kept on the first floor and 
the lighter manufacturing departments were placed on the 
second floor. This layout also pointed out that a three 
story building was not practical. 


Having decided on a two story building with the 
first floor at ground level, it was necessary to establish 
the grade of the first floor. The survey showed that the 
natural ground level was approximately 15" below the es- 
tablished grade of the curb. To reduce the amount of fill 
required in the building to a minimum there, of course, was 
only one elevation at which to establish the first floor 
line. Other factors, however, were to be considered among 
them the grade of the switch track, the approach grade to 
the shipping platform and the proper height of the floor 
above sidewalk to prevent water from melting snow to find 
its way on to the floor. 


A grade of 25 feet above city datura was established 
for the first floor line. This brought the sidewalk about 
15 inches below the first floor level and required a cut 
of about 3 feet for the switch track. It also required a 
4^ grade to the shipping platform. The various driveway 
grades considered are shown in Exhibit No. 6, The 4% grade 
was finally determined upon in order that horse drawn 
trucks would be able to leave the platform with a full 
load. 6% grades are in use in Chicago at bridge approaches 
but they are not desirable as records of horse fallings 


The layout of the building showed that the switch 
track to serve the Company should be located along the 
south end of the building. Exhibit No. 7 shows the layout 
of the industry tracks serving both the Ilg and Seng 
Companies. The main switch track was an extension of an 
existing siding of the railway. Immediately upon leaving 
the railway property the Seng track branches from the main 
industry track. The tracks swing into the property on 
about a 9f degree curve and a .6% down grade until elevation 
of 19.5 city datum was reached for the top of rail. This 
grade was then maintained to the end of the track. As 
stated before, the elevation of this track entailed a cut 
of 3 feet. Approximately 5500 cubic yards of material had 
to be removed. The top 9" was loam and the remainder clay • 
The loam was scraped off with scrapers and saved for grading 
around the front of the building. Where a cut was not over 
18" in depth the excavating was done with scrapers and for 
greater depths a steam shovel working in conjunction with 
wagons was used. The material was spoiled in a more or 
less even manner over an area of about 100 feet each side 
of the track. By handling this excavating as a separate 
contract 35^ per sq.yd. was saved over the Railroad 
Company's figure. 


After a survey of the machinery which will be located 
on the second floor and also a study of the floor loadings 
in possible stock rooms, it was decided that the second 
floor should be designed for a load of 250 lbs. per sq.ft. 
The boiler room of the building being located in the basement 
with the Punch Press department immediately above, required 
a floor loading of 300 lbs. per sq.ft. for the boiler room 

In order to eliminate as many posts as possible a 
20 foot bay was established as standard. This meant that 
the wings of the building should be either 60 or 80 feet. 


Using high ceilings, 16 feet' on the first floor on account 
of manufacturing operations and 12 feet on the second floor 
sufficient light viould reach the interior of an 80 foot 
wing, consequently the design was made for 80 foot wings. 

A preliminary design both in reinforced concrete 
and heavy timber construction vras made and prices on both 
layouts secTired, By this time the structural steel market 
was in such condition that the question of using 
structural steel for the general construction of the build- 
ing was given up. On account of the extremely high price 
of lumber at the time that our estimates were completed 
it showed that a concrete building could be built for about 
5% more than a heavy timber constructed building. Con- 
sequently final plans were made for a reinforced concrete 

The building was laid out as a flat slab with 7 ft. 
drop panels over the coliimn caps. The column cap was 4 ft. 
6 inches in diameter at the top and sloped down on a 
45 degree angle to the column proper which in most cases 
was 20 Inches in diameter for the second floor columns and 
22 inches in diameter for the first floor columns. The 
spandrel beams were left exposed and came about 14 inches 
below the ceiling line. The spandrel beam acted as lintel 
over the steel sash. Brick curtain walls were built up 
3 feet 6 inches above the floor line and were capped off 
with stone sills. 

Concrete slotted inserts were provided at 4 foot 
centers in both directions in both the roof and second floor 
slabs in order to permit the hanging of line shafting and 
motors at any point. Two rings of inserts were also pro- 
vided on every interior column at 6 and 9 foot heights re- 
spectively in order that platforms could be built on any 
column to carry motors or other machinery required. 

The inserts in all cases were large enough to take a 
3/4" bolt. 

In order to eliminate excessive chopping of the con- 
crete slabs which always entails the cutting of reinforcing 
bars when the hole is placed near the colums 4" sleeves were 
placed on every fifth column in order to provide for any 
future piping which it may be necessary to run from one 
floor to another. 

Special features involved in the design of Ithls 
plant consisted in the driving of a 300 ft. well for drink- 
ing T/ater, the installation of oil burners for heating, and 
the use of automatic house telephones. By means of the 
well it will be possible to get all the drinking water re- 


quired at a year around temperature of 52 degrees. This not 
only lends to health of the employes due to a perfectly 
pure clear water, but also on account of a uniform temper- 
ature, cool enough to be refreshing but not as cold as iced 
water. By connecting up the three 75 Horse Power boilers 
with which the plant is being equipped, with oil burners 
the Company has eliminated the soot and dirt which always 
accompany the combustion of coal and have also eliminated 
the trouble of proper disposition of ashes. Furthermore, 
it will be possible to get up steam in a far shorter time 
than had chain grates been used and coal burnt. 

Exhibit No. 8 shows a floor plan together with the 
overall dimensions of the building as it is actually being 
built. The photograph immediately proceeding the exhibits 
gives a birdseye drawing of the building. This building 
calls for a first floor area of 48,000 sq.ft. and a second 
floor area of 42,000 sq.ft. The area of the two extra 
floors in the tower is 560 sq.ft. each. In the top of the 
tower is located a 60,000 gallon sprinkler tank. The tank 
is carried on a concrete floor which frames into the con- 
crete columns at a point 73 feet above the sidewalk. The 
tank which is of steel construction is to be set on cement 
grout so as to bring it to an even bearing. 


Construction on the building was started in October 
1919 and was greatly hampered through failure of the Railway 
Company to lay the industry track as per their agreement. 
Another delay was caused by a strike of the sewer diggers. 
The result of these two delays was that approximately 6000 
cu.yds. of concrete was poured during freezing weather. 
Approximately 550 yards of this were poured when the ther- 
mometer did not rise above the 10 degree mark. Due to the 
extreme care taken when placing the concrete none was 
affected by the frost. All water, sand and stone was 
heated before going into the mixer and a steam jet con- 
tinually played into the mixer. Immediately before plac- 
ing concrete any ice adhering to the reinforcing steel 
form work was melted with a blow torch and the forms heated 
with a steam jet. The space beneath the floor which was 
being poured was protected with tarplins and heated with 
salEimanders . Immediately upon completion of a pouring the 
concrete was protected with hay. 

On account of the first floor being on the ground 
the contractor had intended pouring the first floor slab 
first so as to keep uniform lengths on the struts used to 
carry the second floor form work. However, on account of 
the inability of the sewer contractor to complete his un- 
derground work this method had to be abandoned, and the 


.contractor placed mad sills on which to carry his struts. 
At this point the contractor made a grave mistake inasmuch 
as he insisted on placing 48,000 sq.ft. of form work before 
doing any concreting. No amount of persuasion on the part 
of the writer to have the contractor complete both floors 
of a small section of the building and then proceed to an- 
other section could divert him from his original idea of 
finishing all of the form work involved on one floor. As 
a consequence of his method of erecting this building, he 
found that his lumber bill was extremely high and that in 
order to start pouring the roof slab it was necessary for 
him to buy additional Itimber inasmuch as he could not re- 
move the form work from the second floor slab, until after 
the roof had been poured. The result of the whole arrange- 
ment was that the contractor has only used his foiTn lumber 
twice whereas he should have used it four time in order to 
reduce expenses and also that the building was delayed 
fully a month and a half through this procedure. The princi- 
ples of progressive manufacturing and the lesson learned on 
this building would indicate that it is not advisable to 
take a large area and expect to complete the form work on 
the entire area before proceeding to the next floor. It 
would be far better to take an area say 100 x 200 sq.ft. 
and after completing the form work pour the concrete, while 
pouring the concrete start erection of forms for the next 
section. Then as soon as the concrete has set proceed with 
the roof framing and while doing this pour the concrete on 
the first floor of the second section. 

Another point which was brought home much to the 
financial regret of the contractor was the failure to take 
advantage of the frozen ground arotmd the boiler room ex- 
cavation. As stated before the soil at the building site 
was clay and as soon as the excavation was completed for 
the boiler room there was practically no end to the amount 
of water which flowed into the cut. By constant pumping 
the contractor had been able to place his footings and side- 
walls so as to proceed with the rest of the structure. Cold 
weather set in at this point freezing the sides of the ex- 
cavation and preventing the inflow of any water. The con- 
tractor could not be persuaded to take advantage of this 
condition and waited until Spring to place his boiler room 
floor. As a consequence he has found that up to date it 
has been impossible to keep the boiler room dry enough to 
warrant the placing of the concrete floor at this time. 
Pumps have been operated practically continuously night and 
day without making much of an impression upon the inflow of 

In the erection of a building of any size the value 
of progress photographs should not be overlooked. By tak- 
ing photographs at a regular interval it has been possible 
not only to keep the directors of the Ilg Company posted 


on the progress of the building, but it has also enabled 
the writer to check up on some details which he could not 
have done had it been necessary to make a trip to the build- 
ing site. One small item which the writer recalls is that 
he noticed that the form work on one particular column had 
been built without providing a bracket for a future beam* 
The mistake was easily remedied inasmuch as it was only 
necessary to inform the carpenter foreman and have him 
make the necessary corrections. By studying the photo- 
graphs made at various intervals the engineer is assisted 
in estimating the probable amount of work which will be 
done in a certain time to come. 

Another point which was borne out on this job is 
the advisability of building the form work and concreting 
towers strong enough to take care of severe winds. During 
the time that the form work on this building was being 
erected we had winds of 45 miles an hour on three occasions 
and at no time was any of the form work destroyed. We 
did, however, after every storm run levels in order to 
check the form elevations, but found that in no case were 
they off more than l/8 of an inch. This slight variation, 
of course, was easily taken care of. 

m J 


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